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credits our staff
michael wells * publishing director kelli bullard * editor / senior writer collier vinson * art director / graphic design joshua mclemore * web master kirk manton * project management •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• blake cartrite * copy writer alicia flake * graphic design colin quinlin * graphic design •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• jason williams * advertising sales director casey evans * advertising sales james salicco * advertising sales
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•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• connect magazine is a quarterly publication of trinity fellowship 5000 hollywood road | amarillo, texas 79118 | (806) 355-8955 © 2010 trinity fellowship. all rights reserved. no part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the prior written consent of the publisher.
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contents FALL 2010
04 07 08 10 12
Contributors FROM THE EDITOR Speak Up Reviews Forward
15 Wide Awake
Take a journey of self-discovery, as one lifegroup leader began asking the all-important question, “Who Am I?” Cherie Norman and her group of women take you on a quest to find the source of true identity and self-worth.
18 The Source
Do you have to be crazy to want to teach preschoolers? Find out what Amber Ickles has to say about that, as well as her tips for balancing family and career.
20 It’s All in the Planning
Fall means schedules get hectic and dinner often becomes the quickest thing you can grab at the drive-thru. Learn from two moms who’ve perfected the art of planning meals ahead and saving lots of money and time in the process.
27 The One Thing Cover Story:
We asked several of our readers to share the one thing they want to invest in their children. Insightful and thought-provoking, their answers may cause you to laugh out loud or grab a box of tissues. But they’ll definitely make you think.
Cover Photography by Joseph Schlabs
the people we couldn't do without
Carrie Hicks & Lara Hatch
Carrie Hicks loves to share godly, practical ways to budget and manage money, so she has formed a non-profit organization called Budget Planning Concepts, Inc. (www. bpconcepts.org). She and Lara Hatch, owner of Chef for Hire Catering (www. chefforhirecatering. com), partner to develop food plans like this one (see pg. 21) and share the process, including a cooking lesson with small groups.
Susie is a nurturer at heart, and loves taking time for people. As a child, 4
Susie’s family made her feel special, especially her Grandma Schilling, a simple GermanRussian immigrant. “She cherished her family and her Lord Jesus, and her smile was part of her wardrobe every day,” Susie says. “Because of her, as well as my parents, the generation over me has forever been a treasure—something I truly respect. They have shown me how to pour into those around me and share what I have received.”
Last month Cherie took a leap of faith and headed to Vacaville, CA to attend Deeper: School of Supernatural Life which Graham Cooke helped to establish. Cherie has known since 6th grade that God has called her to be a missionary to the nations, so she’s excited to be taking this first step toward fulfilling that call. The
lifegroup that she started is still meeting this fall under the leadership of Shalyn Hamlin (see story on pg. 15).
her eight (soon to be nine) nieces and nephews.
Jill credits her mom for teaching all five daughters to have a strong work ethic and a love for learning, and challenging them to always give their best effort. Because of her example, Jill says she knows exactly what she wants in a marriage, a family, and ultimately a legacy. This fall Jill is traveling to see friends across the country. She enjoys playing volleyball, attending local theater, hitting the gym, and spoiling
Christa has a passion for all aspects of design: clothing, hair and makeup. She loved the years she spent working with a fashion designer, but these days she is living (and loving!) a different kind of life— as wife to Raymond and mom to two sons and a new daughter. Even with her busy schedule, Christa still finds time to tap into her creative side and do makeup for our connect magazine photo shoots.
Michelle’s life has
been impacted by the young women she has met while researching and writing stories for connect magazine. “They’re so sweet and so passionate for the Lord, it blesses me and challenges me,” she says. Michelle also has the opportunity to impact the lives of young people in her role as a teacher at Arbor Christian Academy.
When Kyle was eight years old, his dad gave him an old film camera. Little did he know that this camera would spark something in Kyle and change his life forever. He soon discovered that he had a gift and a passion for photography, and since that day Kyle has been taking pictures. He recently became a full-time photographer and now runs his own business, Trafton L.L.C. He and his wife, Amanda, live in Abilene.
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from the editor kelli bullard
A couple weeks ago, this interesting text message pops up on my phone. It’s from JP, my nineteen-year-old son: “Steven wants to borrow your kitchen to cook something.” “Sure, no problem,” I reply, my curiosity piqued. About an hour later JP and his friend Steven barrel through my front door. Steven says hi as he launches a grocery bag onto my kitchen counter. “So what are you cooking?” I ask. “Pierogies. It’s my grandma’s recipe.” Now he really has my attention. Maybe there are lots of teenage boys who spend time in the kitchen learning how to make their grandmother’s recipes, but I’ve never known any. This is definitely a first. “I remember my grandma making pierogies all the time when we were growing up,” Steven explains. “And I got to thinking, when she’s not around anymore, who’s going to know how to make them? So I asked her to teach me how.” As he mixes up the dough and shows me how to knead in just the right amount of flour (not too sticky, not too dry), a warm, happy feeling begins to swell deep inside me. Snapshots of the last several years flood my memories. All those crazy carpool mornings that I gave Steven and his sisters a ride to school (five kids, three schools, fifteen minutes; I had it down to a science). The countless sleepovers and birthday parties that invaded my house. The hundreds of hours I spent sitting in the stands, cheering for the boys as they pounded up and down the basketball court. Mixed with the happy is also the sad. Steven moved to another high school their sophomore year, and he and JP didn’t get to see each other as much. But my husband and I still went to Steven’s basketball games as often as we could. He dropped by now and then, and we made the effort to stay in touch. Now he’s living in a college dorm and planning to be a pharmacist. It’s been a few months since I’ve seen Steven, and I’m thrilled that it’s my kitchen he’s standing in right now. And that he’s teaching me how to make his grandma’s pierogies. “I need something to cut the dough into circles,” he says, rifling through my cabinets for a plastic bowl that’s just the right size. As he cuts and fills and crimps the edges of each dumpling, he shows me how to drop them in boiling water, just until they float. The final step is frying them in butter until golden. When the first pierogie is ready for a taste test, I hold back and let Steven take the first bite. He looks thoughtful,
And today I am reaping the rewards of those thousand little things.
then says, “I’m not sure I got the dough just right.” So I grab a fork and try it for myself, turning the cheesy, crusty, delicious concoction around in my mouth. “Mmm,” I say, savoring the moment. That warm place inside me swells a little bigger as I think about everything that’s brought us to this place. I don’t believe there was one monumental reason that Steven chose my kitchen today to carry on his family’s tradition. I think, instead, it was a culmination of a thousand little things. Those insignificant moments that didn’t seem to matter at the time, like listening to a story about what happened at school. Offering comfort when knees got scraped, feelings got hurt. Celebrating an all-A report card, a graduation with honors, a scholarship offer. And today I am reaping the rewards of those thousand little things. My son’s friend since third grade is now a young man with a promising future. He could be a dozen different places right now—hanging out with his friends, seeing his girlfriend—but he’s here in my kitchen, sharing a pierogie and trading memories. “I still remember how good your chocolate chip cookies were,” Steven says. “And your banana bread. You need to teach me how to make them sometime.” “Whenever you’re ready,” I say with a smile.
what you thought of our last issue
I absolutely love connect magazine. It makes me literally feel connected in such a large congregation. Story takes the cake
I loved the article on Cara and her bakery. When visiting from Manhattan this previous summer, she did my 13th birthday party. All the girls at the party loved her...and her cake! She is very humble and mature in faith; her Christianity is evident in her work. She makes a great role model for all younger, godly women. The weekend after my party was when she became engaged, so I wish her many blessings in the years to come.
Home away from home When I lived in Amarillo, I attended Trinity every weekend. Now, in Lubbock, I try to stay connected via the magazine as well as online sermons. I attend every weekend that I come to Amarillo for a visit. Trinity will always be my “home church.” Kenneth McErlane
Updates that uplift I absolutely love connect magazine. It makes me literally feel connected in such a large congregation. It’s like an update of the church and testimonies that uplift me and sometimes make my day! To see such miracles in our very own church, it’s truly a blessing! Sarah Lynnette McNutt
We Love Mail! * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Drop us a note and let us know what you think of this issue of connect magazine. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write us at connect magazine, 5000 Hollywood Road, Amarillo TX 79118.
Meet the Winners! Thank you to everyone who completed our online survey and entered the contest to win two great prizes.
We want to send out a special congratulations to Rick McElroy and Mersades Menefee, whose names were randomly selected from the contest entries we received. Rick won an Apple iPad, and Mersades won the Weber One-Touch Grill. We appreciate all the feedback and ideas you shared about what you like about connect magazine and what youâ€™d like to see in future issues. Your input helps to make this magazine the best that it can be. Thanks for reading!
from our shelves
Mentor Like Jesus by Regi Campbell with Richard Chancy
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus’ challenge for all of us was to go and make disciples. His encouragement for us was to simply do as He had done. In his book, Regi Campbell spells out for us the great need to be transferring who we are into the lives of the next generation. We have a responsibility to raise up and disciple the next generation. In this book you will be challenged, inspired and equipped to do just that, to mentor like Jesus. I strongly encourage all of you, regardless of your age, to read this book and apply its principles in your own life. Now is the time to begin pouring into the next generation.
Review by Matt Spears
Have a New Kid by Friday How to Change Your Child’s Attitude, Behavior & Character in 5 Days
by Dr. Kevin Leman Practically every parent’s story follows a similar plot. The Lord blesses us with children— beautiful bundles of joy that bring an instant smile to all who see them. They are a bit demanding at first, but soon learn to become more independent. As they grow, they instinctively test every boundary as they try to figure out the world around them. Every parent since the dawn of time has had to deal with rolling eyes, half-done chores, and sharp tones that spawn passionate parental lectures which go completely unheeded. If you feel like you are locked in a battle with your children, then Dr. Leman’s book is for you. This generation of children is growing up in a choicefilled world. They need tools to help them develop the right filters to sort through the constant barrage of stimulus. Dr. Leman lays out a parental action plan in five simple steps that will bring sanity to your life and help provide your kids with a clear, experiential understanding of the consequences to their actions (or inactions). An easy read, Have a New Kid by Friday can be digested in a few hours, and its impact is exactly as the title suggests.
Review by Jimmy Witcher
Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom
This book by the bestselling author of Tuesdays with Morrie chronicles Mitch Albom’s relationships with two very different men: Albert Lewis, his childhood rabbi, and Henry Covington, pastor of a mostly African-American church in Detroit. The saga begins when “the Reb” (Lewis) asks Albom if, when the time comes in some distant future, he will give his eulogy. Albom reluctantly agrees, on one condition—that the rabbi allow him to get to know him as a man, not merely the larger-than-life figure who dominated his religious upbringing. The friendship that develops over eight years offers Albom blessings he didn’t know he was looking for—enlightened guidance about humanity, integrity, and love for God and others as well as the resurrection of his long-neglected faith. In the meantime, Albom walks into a ramshackle church in downtown Detroit. There he meets Covington, an improbable man of God with an unbelievable past of drug abuse and violence. Initially skeptical, Albom comes to admire Covington’s tenacious belief even in the face of poverty and loss. At first glance, the pastor and the rabbi don’t seem to have much in common, but for the author their stories dovetail in their dual portraits of grace and redemption. Albom is Jewish, not Christian, so his book does not celebrate belief in Jesus except as that belief has dramatically changed Covington’s life. Christians, however, can appreciate the author’s affirmation of faith and its positive power in the lives of these three men.
Review by Michelle Akins
forward looking ahead
a GENERATIONAL in·flu·ence | `in-flü-əns | noun
• the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command. Influence is a powerful word, and it can bring honorable, life-changing results when used the right way. It carries with it authority, weight and credibility. Generational influence may not be a concept you’ve thought a lot about, but when you understand its value, it can make a profound difference in how you walk out your life. What could be better than learning from those you love and trust? What could be more fulfilling than passing on the wisdom you’ve gained from the lessons you’ve learned and the godly standards you’ve lived by? And what could be more comforting than hearing that you’re not the only one who’s ever made a horrible mistake? A seasoned life is like an antique piece of furniture full of stories. It reveals the etchings of both hardship and determination while it reflects the joy of the journey. The results are a beautiful, strong display of character we long to have by our side. My precious daughter in-law once told me that although a teaching or a lesson may not always be the answer for the moment, perspective is the gem to behold. I couldn’t agree with her more. Perspective is something older believers are more likely to have. Sharing it helps younger believers gain the wisdom, comfort and experience to help them find their way down a new path. It can also help them avoid pitfalls and appreciate the blessing of the life 12
God has given them. You might typically think of generational influence coming primarily from those who have gone before us. Although that kind of influence is definitely important and something we want to focus on as a body, you have probably also been influenced for the better by someone younger than you. I happen to believe that we can receive from and impart to all generations, no matter what age we are. Although each generation has its differences and limits in life’s experiences, each can contribute in powerful ways. It might just take a child to gently remind us of the freedom there is in being ourselves—the way God created us to be. Simply and without much effort, that child can have a godly influence on those who have been bound by performance and the fear of man. Or perhaps just listening to the music from a teenage boy’s heart about life and God can convict our hearts to be more honest and real. Because of that kind of transparency, those older and younger can be challenged to pour their hearts out to God and experience the joy of forgiveness. It is God’s desire that we become men and women of influence— especially because His influence lives in us through Christ. Right where you are, in your own generation, you can make a difference. So share His wisdom; let Him use your mistakes and experiences to proclaim through your life the power of His love!
Associate pastor of worship
NO REFINED SUGAR! Feel good about eating our treats
Cara Linn, Inc. www.caralinncakes.com Phone: 806.674.2250 Address: 512 SW 47th Ave. (by appt. only)
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Vegan Options also available
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lifegroup @ trinity the view from inside
Wide Awake By Cherie Norman
Leaders: Cherie Norman Shalyn Meets: Mondays at 6:30 p.m. Location: 5409 Nova Scotia
I knew from the time I set foot into my first lifegroup meeting I would want to lead one someday but I didn’t know who, what, when or how. I worried about all the questions people ask themselves— without bothering to ask God! But timing and obedience are the only things that matter. He is always about the details. Wide Awake, the “official” name of the group I have been leading, was birthed out of a question I began asking myself four years ago: Who am I? This question, the question we are created to ask, has proven difficult to answer. I soon decided that if I couldn’t answer this question there were certainly other women my age wondering the same thing. Plus, one of my heart’s desires is to see women passionately pursue Jesus and His Kingdom and to give them a safe environment to be completely vulnerable and loved. Lifegroup was the first step toward an answer. The first steps aren’t always easy. We started with a mere four or five people meeting in random places at random times, usually with me hoping people showed up. I’d missed the fall 2008 lifegroup leader training, so I decided to
Photography by Joseph Schlabs
Our lifegroup has come to learn we must identify our value and identity in Him, not in what we do. This is revelatory to most women. We so easily get caught in the do and let it become our who.
go out on my own. I don’t think this was inherently wrong, but I also know God honors authority. In spring 2009, I knew I had to go through the training class and allow Trinity’s leadership to be my covering. After that, we started over with a fresh perspective and growth. After a book study, a Bible study, and my constant preaching to the group about going through deliverance and getting counseling, we’ve come a long way in our identity search. But it’s
not over yet. Throughout the process, I didn’t necessarily see myself as the leader—I just happened to have a question that needed to be answered, and I didn’t want to figure it out alone. This summer my co-leader, Shalyn, and I prayed for divine guidance about where to go next with our group. God answered our prayer in the person of Pam Griffin. One day over lunch, Pam and Shalyn discussed the identity counseling Pam has given women in the past and discovered it was a perfect fit for our lifegroup. Pam’s first question to us was, How can we be made in God’s image and all turn out so different? Over the past few weeks, she has answered that question by walking us through revelatory teaching on the character traits of God that are present in all of us. Through Pam’s teachings, we’ve learned that simple things we enjoy doing or desire to do someday create value in us and reveal one of God’s character traits. Most of the time we don’t have words to define why we want to be a mom, a wife, a runner, an employee, etc. We just take on those roles. Our lifegroup has come to learn we must identify our value and identity in Him, not in what we do. This is revelatory to most women. We so easily get caught in the do and let it become our who. As we’ve walked through the satisfaction and sometimes complete frustration of figuring out who we are, we’re learning the process won’t end. God doesn’t change, but He continues to reveal more and more of Himself. When we are in constant pursuit of Him and one another, what looks like a mess really turns out to be His glory.
How can we be made in God’s image and all turn out so different?
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insights from someone in the know
Pre-K Teacher name: Amber Ickles qualifications: Earned an Elementary Education degree from Wayland Baptist University and taught second grade for two years in Plainview. This fall she began her second year at Olsen Park Elementary School as a Pre-Kindergarten teacher of four-year-olds.
* My childhood dream was always to be a teacher. I remember one day my dad brought home two teacher manuals. Back then the manuals had the entire lesson written out word-for-word. I would spend hours in my room with
my dolls, teaching them the lessons out of those textbooks. * Some of the comments I hear about teachers of young kids are, “You must be brave to do that” or “You have a tough job.” I also hear, “You must have a lot of patience.” I think the patience to work with children is a blessing that God has given me. * My favorite part of teaching is the opportunity I have to influence a generation. The kids have such an innocence and curiosity about learning, and I get to be their first school experience. Teaching is a great responsibility and privilege. * I see my job as a ministry. God has put me in these children’s lives for a reason. With this in mind, I try to take advantage of every opportunity to be an example of Jesus Christ and share Him with my students.
* Being able to show the kids the love of God makes my heart happy. A simple hug
can brighten their day. I enjoy being able to show the kids that adults, other than just mom and dad, really care about them. * When God called me back into the school system after several years at home, it was challenging to make the transition. My schedule turned upside down. My husband and I knew that this would mean big changes for our family—we just didn’t know how big. * I quickly began burning the candle at both ends. At first I thought, Once my classroom is where I want it to be, everything will be okay. My kind principal saw how stressed I was becoming and talked to me about it. He reminded me that while teaching was my job, my family needed to be my first priority. * I had to learn how to let some things go. For example, it’s not the end of the world if my house isn’t spotless. * My kids have a structured schedule and help out by doing household chores. We make it a point to eat breakfast and dinner together as a family. Our youngest two children have a strict 8:00 p.m. bedtime in order to give my husband and me time to unwind from the day and spend time together. * It may sound simple, but my husband sets the coffee pot timer each night before we go to bed. I appreciate his thoughtful gesture, and it helps me to feel close to him throughout the day while we’re apart. * As a family we have studied the meaning of the word rest. Psalm 23:2 is our theme verse. It says, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.” “Still waters” means refreshment. If I want to rest, I realize I have to give everything to the Lord and let Him lead me.
It's All In The Planning By Carrie Hicks and Lara Hatch
#1 Plan your menu.
The more meals you plan, the more time and money you save. Shop store ads for deals of the week and plan meals around those items. * Meal 1: Lemon
Marinade Roast Chicken with Squash and Zucchini Gratin and Mashed Sweet Potatoes
3:30 Pick up Leah and Jake from school
* Meal 2: Chicken
4:00 Stop by bank and post office
Tortilla Soup with Pepper Jack Quesadillas
5:00 Pick up Bryce from football
* Meal 3: Roasted
5:15 Drop off Leah at gymnastics
Zucchini and Squash Penne
6:00 Pick up Jake from soccer
* Bonus: Breakfast
6:30 Pick up Leah from gymnastics
Does this look like your schedule some days, maybe even most days? So many of us can relate, and we
get excited when we’re able to get home by seven o’clock! After all the driving and bustling, we finally land home and hear, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” Often, our frantic schedule forces us to answer the question by heading to the drive-thru yet again to pick up something fast because we haven’t even thought about dinner until now. Meanwhile, we are eating unhealthy food and spending more money than we’d like—or can afford. In this article, we’ve created an all-inclusive multi-meal plan you can apply as soon as you finish reading! Planning is the key, and with just a little prep time, you can enjoy healthy, inexpensive meals that take little time to put on the table. Here we’ve done that planning for you, so you can see how to select a menu of three dinner-time meals (even a bonus breakfast) that all use similar ingredients and build on each other by using items cooked from one meal to create the next. Benefit? You save time in the store and kitchen, and you spend less money!
Photography by Kyle Trafton
#2 Create shopping list.
Use the recipes from your menu to begin your list, add lunches and snacks for kids, then include toiletries, etc. so as not to miss any critical items. Remember: 1) stick
to the list; 2) don’t shop while hungry; and 3) generic is ok!
* Butter * Plain Greek yogurt or
* Italian-blend shredded
cheese (2 cups)
* Pepper Jack cheese,
* 1 28-oz can fire roasted
* 1 lb Penne pasta * 1 bag white corn
* flour or wheat
* 10 chicken breasts * 6 zucchini * 5 yellow squash * 3 yellow onions * 4 large sweet potatoes * 1 green bell pepper * 1 red bell pepper * 1 jalapeno * 1 avocado * 1 lime * 4 scallions * 1 pt grape tomatoes * fresh cilantro * 5 cloves garlic * 1 dozen eggs
*To save money, look for
these ingredients in the Latin foods aisle rather than the spice aisle.
#3 Budget restaurant dollars.
Don’t deny yourself the option of eating out. Simply budget each month how much you will spend and pull that money out of the food budget so that you spend only what you’ve allowed. Use it as you like, but once it’s gone, don’t continue to eat out. This helps tremendously in keeping your checkbook in check.
shredded (5 cups)
* lemon juice or 4 fresh
* Dijon mustard * coriander* * fresh nutmeg* * olive oil * 1 qt chicken stock 21
Squash & Zucchini Gratin Serves 4
Lemon Marinade Roast Chicken Serves 4 1/2 cup lemon juice | fresh or bottled 2 tbsp Dijon mustard salt & pepper 1 cup olive oil 4 chicken breasts
In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Then whisk in the olive oil. Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish in a single layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Pour half the marinade over the chicken, reserving the other half to use later. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least two hours in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the oven and pour the remaining marinade over the top of the chicken. Cover the dish with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Reserve extra chicken breasts for other recipes. 22
3 zucchini | cut into thin rounds 3 yellow squash | cut into thin rounds 1 sm yellow onion | cut in half & sliced thin 1 cup shredded Italian-blend cheese 1 tbsp butter | cut into pieces 1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper
In a large bowl toss zucchini, squash and onion with olive oil, salt and pepper. In a 13 x 9 baking dish spread half the onion on the bottom and 1/2 tablespoon of the butter. Then layer over the onion the sliced squash and zucchini, overlapping each piece. Top with remaining onion and butter. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake for 50
Mashed Sweet Potatoes Serves 4 4 lg sweet potatoes 4 tbsp plain Greek yogurt (for a healthier option) or sour cream 1/4 tsp pepper 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 2 tbsp butter | cut into pieces
Bake sweet potatoes at 375 degrees for 50 minutes or until tender. Cool for 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Cut off the end of the potato and squeeze out into serving bowl. Add yogurt, salt, pepper, nutmeg and butter. Mash together and serve.
Roasted Zucchini & Squash Penne Serves 6 1 lb Penne pasta 1 pt grape tomatoes 2 yellow squash | cut into thin rounds 2 zucchini | cut into thin rounds 5 cloves garlic | skin on 1/2 cup olive oil salt & pepper 1 cup shredded Italian-blend cheese 3 pre-roasted chicken breasts | sliced
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a sheet pan toss grape tomatoes and garlic in enough olive oil to coat. Salt and pepper liberally. In another sheet pan toss squash and zucchini in enough olive oil to coat. Salt and pepper liberally. Place the pans in the oven until the tomatoes crack (about 20 minutes, checking after 10 minutes), and the squash is tender (about 25 to 30 minutes). Meanwhile, cook pasta in salted water according to package instructions, about 10 minutes. (Pasta should be al dente; don't overcook). When the tomatoes and garlic are done let them cool for about 5 minutes. Remove the skins from the
garlic. In a large bowl add the peeled garlic with 1/2 ladle of pasta cooking liquid and mash together. Add the tomatoes to the bowl and mash them with a potato masher until a sauce forms and tomatoes are well combined with garlic broth. Add penne, squash and zucchini, grated cheese, and toss one minute to allow the pasta to soak up flavors. Add 3 roasted, sliced chicken breasts and toss again. Serve.
Photography by Kyle Trafton
Chicken Tortilla Soup Serves 4 2 tbsp olive oil 3 pre-roasted chICkEN breasts | chopped salt & pepper 1 tbsp ground coriander 1 lg onion | quartered and thinly sliced 1 lg bell pepper | quartered & thinly sliced 1 jalapeno | seeded and thinly sliced 1 28-oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes 1 qt chicken stock 1 bag white corn tortilla chips 1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
optional toppers: 1 avocado | diced 1 lime | juiced 4 scallions | chopped Handful fresh cilantro leaves | chopped
Heat a large skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell pepper and jalapeno; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chicken and coriander. Add tomatoes and chicken stock; heat through. While the soup is cooking, toss the avocado with lime juice. Lightly crush some tortilla chips and divide among 4 bowls.
You need a couple of handfuls per bowl. Top the chips with a little cheese. Top the chips with ladles of soup. Garnish soup with cheese, avocado, scallions and cilantro. Add an extra squeeze of lime juice, if desired. | Tip | To increase servings, simply add water or chicken stock.
* Pepper Jack Quesadillas
Zucchini & Squash Breakfast Casserole
4 tortillas 2 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese pre-roasted chicken | sliced (optional)
10 eggs | lightly beaten 1 cup PLAIN Greek yogurt (for a healthier option) or sour cream 1 lg onion | chopped 1 red pepper | chopped 1 zucchini | sliced into rounds 2 cups pepper jack cheese | shredded
Sprinkle cheese over two tortillas. Top cheese with pre-roasted chicken, if desired. Add top tortillas to quesadillas. Place on baking sheet. Bake in oven at 425 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes checking often. Cut into wedges and serve. | Tip | Make an extra and save it for tomorrowâ€™s lunch!
Photography by Kyle Trafton
In a large deep baking dish add eggs, yogurt, onion, peppers, zucchini and cheese; stir to mix. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden color. | Tip | This casserole is even more flavorful if you prepare it and then refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator and let stand 30 minutes before cooking. Roast extra veggies for the breakfast casserole while cooking other meals. That way your chopping prep is already done, plus you get a little extra flavor!
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The One Thing
There are so many important things we want to teach our children, and it’s hard to say which
is most vital. For Christian moms, it almost goes without saying that we want our children to have a personal relationship with the Lord. But beyond that, what is one important thing you want to be sure your kids “get”?
We asked some of
our connect readers to answer this question: “If you had to narrow it down to one thing that you wanted to be sure you invested in your children, what would it be?” On the following pages, they share their thoughts with you.
Photography by Joseph Schlabs
If you had to
narrow it down to one thing that you wanted to be sure you invested
in your children, what would it be?
FROM LEFT: Natalie, Judy, & Micah Espinoza
A World of Imagination by Judy EspinoZa
It is easy to say that I want to invest in education, job skills or social skills for my children’s future. These are all good and necessary, but there is something we tend to overlook that I believe is vital to our children: imagination and creativity.
We live in a virtual world, where everything can be experienced tangibly in an
instant. Children are being robbed of the joy of expressing their creativity. They watch cartoons instead of imagining scenarios; they collect glow-in-the-dark stickers instead of counting shooting stars in the night sky.
I want to give my children the freedom and protection to explore God’s world
and be themselves. I learned this principle from my grandma and my mom, who always allowed us the freedom to express ourselves. As kids, we created forts, jungles and oceans in our backyard, which must have driven my mom crazy! But that freedom has given me the courage to get out in the world and make my own jungles.
I want to quench my children’s thirst for knowledge by providing them with good
books. Music is also a big part of our lives, and I have invested in musical instruments so that my children can create songs and praise God. I pay attention to what excites them and give them tools to expand their imaginary world. I look for TV shows and movies that have beautiful language, music and stimulating images that encourage them to play.
Our God took the time to create us, and He has given us unique talents to express
our individuality. I want my children to know that they have the freedom to create whatever they want and to imagine the impossible. Someone once said, “We are told never to cross a bridge till we come to it, but this world is owned by men who have ‘crossed bridges’ in their imagination far ahead of the crowd.” I want my children to not only cross them but to build those bridges. That is why I want them to have plenty of room to practice now, so that I can catch them when they fall.
Photography by Joseph Schlabs
FROM FROM LEFT: LEFT: Gentry, Gentry, Emily, Emily, & Camden & Camden Fish Fish
The Joy of Giving by Emily Fish
I want my son, Camden, to give his brand-new tennis shoes to a friend with holes in his shoes. I want my daughter, Gentry, to give her friend the purse she’s carrying, just because her friend likes it. I want Camden to mow the elderly neighbor’s yard, just because he’s mowing ours.
I want my kids to give their coat to a shivering classmate. I want them to give
their favorite Christmas gift to someone who didn’t get a present. I want them to share their lunch with the classmate who forgot to bring lunch. When someone falls, I want them to rush over and help them up. I want my children to drive out of their way to help a stranger. When a friend needs five dollars, I want them to give ten. I want them to offer their help, before being asked.
Needless to say, I want my children to be unselfish and Christlike. I want them
to feel sacrifice—and the satisfaction that follows. I want their joy to come from giving.
Photography by Joseph Schlabs
32 FROM LEFT: Logan, Kim, & Jax May
True Value by Kim May
When we brought Logan, our firstborn, home from the hospital nine years ago, I rocked him for hours. Crying. Praying. Overwhelmed by the fact that I was responsible for the person this tiny baby would grow up to become.
Two years later, I whispered goodbye to my mom and watched as she left this
earth to meet Jesus. I rocked for hours. Crying. Praying. Overwhelmed by how she helped me grow into the woman I had become.
Six years later, my four-year-old son, Jax, lay in the PICU, clinging to life with
blood glucose levels of 1040 and a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. I rocked him for hours. Crying. Praying. Overwhelmed by a disease that had shattered our world.
My mom taught me to never measure happiness or self-worth by possessions.
And I’ve done my best to pass that gift to my children—her grandsons, Logan and Jax.
It’s not about super-cool electronics beginning with a lower case i. We don’t
yearn for a bigger house or a better car. Our family has chosen to collect experiences, memories. Roasting marshmallows over Daddy’s charcoal grill. Trips to the beach. Movie nights on the sofa.
The process of collecting and valuing memories rather than possessions has
taught our children the difference between wants and needs.
Imagine my bittersweet delight over Logan’s recent homework assignment. His
paper had two columns. The column labeled WANTS listed Legos and a book. Under the NEEDS column he wrote "food, water, insulin and blood." Blood is needed to check Jax’s glucose levels, and insulin keeps Jax alive.
Photography by Joseph Schlabs
We have everything we need. Thanks, Mom. We got your gift.
FROM LEFT: Leah, Angel, Angela, & Landon Foster
A Healthy Respect by Angela Foster
There are so many things I would love to impart to my children—important things I believe every person should have for a good life, such as loving God, knowing the Word, sharing their faith and, for goodness' sake, CLEANING THEIR ROOMS. (Sigh.) But I must say after taking a closer look at the world around me I realize that what I really want my kids to demonstrate is respect. Yep, good ol’ R-E-S-P-E-C-T! (I can hear you singing it.)
In observing young people or just people in general, I have become appalled at
the lack of respect or outright disrespect toward others. In our society it seems as if we have lost respect for the elderly (physical abuses taking place daily), our families (at odds with each other), and those in authority (parents and teachers are afraid of kids nowadays). If we keep up this pattern, we will destroy ourselves.
So I’ve decided that along with learning biblical principles, I want my children to
be respectful. I want them to respect their elders, people in authority and each other—not to mention, of course, their wonderful parents (smile). If we believe the saying, “What goes around comes around” and the Scripture, “You reap what you sow,” then I think it is pretty important to respect one another.
I must say I am very proud of my children. They seem to understand what
respecting others is all about. Now if I can just get them to remember the importance of respecting each other! I guess a little sibling jesting is healthy—respectfully, that is!
Photography by Joseph Schlabs
36 FROM LEFT: Dillon & Julie Taylor
A Significant Destiny by Julie Taylor
When I think of what I’ve always wanted to impart to my son, the word significance comes
to mind. As a mother, it makes my heart ache to see a child who feels insignificant or unimportant, and that was something that I never wanted my child to feel. From the time he was a baby, before he even understood my words, I let Dillon know that his little life was precious and important.
As the years have passed and he’s gotten older, I’ve tried to elaborate on the topic.
I want him to know that before we ever knew he was coming, God knew and created him for a very specific purpose. I’ve told him that he has a destiny, one that God will equip him for, one that only he can accomplish.
Now that he’s a teenager, I want him to understand that even though things in his
life may seem crazy, God is preparing him for something great. My prayer is that he grasps the enormity of the fact that the Creator of the Universe, the One True God, thought of him and only him, created him, and made plans for him. Now that is significance!
Photography by Joseph Schlabs
FROM LEFT: Nancy & Matt Wilcox
When Kids Become Adults by Nancy Wilcox
I treasured my time at home with my three sons when they were growing up. It was a delight
every day to love them, teach them and guide them. I never dreamed, however, that having grown children would be equally, if not more, delightful.
I am the mother of three grown sons. Now we are friends and peers. I have a
great deal of respect for them and value their input into my life. They are full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom.
As their mother and their friend, I still have influence in their lives, but that
influence is more on an “invited” basis. One of my favorite conversations to have with them is sharing what the Lord has done and is doing in our lives. Testifying to His greatness builds our faith together. When I have the opportunity to, I encourage integrity and truth in their lives. Our exchanges are very straightforward and honest.
When children are grown, their troubles don’t go away. As a matter of fact,
sometimes the troubles get bigger . . . and more expensive! My sons know that they can call me or come by and find a good sounding board. I mostly listen and affirm, but sometimes they need guidance too. They know I respect their judgment, so we talk as equals. Getting out of the “parent seat” isn’t easy, but it is quite necessary for healthy adult relationships.
Photography by Joseph Schlabs
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Published on Oct 11, 2010